The ink has barely dried on Airbnb’s new Chinese name, but the jokes have come fast.
To launch Trips in China, U.S. home-rental company showed off a new name to match, Aibiying.
It says Aibiying () means to “welcome each other with love.”
But the Chinese think it sounds awkward, and isn’t easily understood.
One Weibo user griped that it’s hard to pronounce two similar-sounding syllables one after the other.
He also added that Aibiying sounds more like “to love to fulfill requests” or worse, “to love Bing” Microsoft’s search engine’s Chinese name is “Biying.”
Similar comments continue to flow in on Airbnb’s Weibo announcement.
“It’s terrible; please send this feedback to your boss,” said one user. “What a low-standard name,” said another.
Weibo users are also saying that the Aibiying sounded a lot like a company selling sex toys, because “bi” is a homonym for a crude slang term for vagina, and “ying” sounds like the Chinese word for lust.
ChenXiaoBei says: “From its logo and name, Aibiying just sounds like it’s competing against [condom giant] Durex.”
ifeellikeCY: “I’m embarrassed to even put the Airbnb app with the others; it looks like an app for sex products.”
Aibiying was the best one out of 11 names
Aibiying was the chosen out of 11 other candidates that Airbnb already trademarked in China, according to state-run The Paper.
The names are:
(oshln, “travel round the world that is your neighbourhood”)
(jizis fng, “home is around the four corners of the globe”)
(owng, “travel forth”)
and (ibyu/ibxng, both of which mean “love travelling together”)
and (obln/bxnln, “travelling around each other’s neighbourhoods”)
(xnqy, “the journey your heart initiates”)
(oyubn, “travel with companions”)
(ibxn, “loving travel with each other”)
Airbnb’s new name was undoubtedly meant to court Chinese users, but it was necessary anyway, since Chinese law requires brands to submit a Chinese name.
The company certainly isn’t the first to have found naming itself in Chinese difficult.
Other companies have also been panned for their odd names; Google was criticised when it unveiled its Chinese name (, pronounced gu-ge) in 2006; while a search for Snapchat’s Chinese name (, pronounced se-la-bu) on Baidu turns up pictures of labradors.
Bing, the search engine run by Microsoft, still uses its original English domain name in the country, which sounds like the Chinese word for “sick” (bing, or ).